Seasonal anxieties are a real thing. Between darker, colder, shorter days to less time outdoors and in fresh air. There is a lot to be missed in the winter months. For anyone who is experiencing seasonal anxiety it goes beyond just feeling off or down. There is a real chemical shift in our mind, body, and spirit during the winter months.
Let’s explore 5 simple, but impactful, tools you can add into your life for easing your seasonal anxiety:
When our days are darker earlier this really throws off our natural rhythms. This in and of itself can leave us with deep feelings of unrest, anxiety, and even depression. Our circadian rhythm regulates our sleep, digestion, hormones, and more! So it’s super important to help support our natural rhythms.
Aim to sleep and wake at consistent times daily, and aim to get a solid 6-9 hours of sleep. If you are having trouble with resetting, try slowly pushing back your sleep and wake times to reset. Turn off tv and phones at least an hour before bed to begin settling your mind and letting your body know its time to sleep.
Dark out curtains or eye masks are also helpful if you have a room with any additional light seeping in. The following tips also are great support tools to resetting your circadian rhythm.
We’ve always heard movement is good for our well-being, bones, and overall fitness but now studies show that movement is actually your body’s very own pharmacy. Author of “The Joy of Movement,” health psychologist Dr. Kelly Mcgonigal, shares that with each contraction and movement of your muscles, your muscles are secreting hormones like an endocrine system releases “hope molecules,” proteins that are antidepressants and also support for our immune system, brain function, and support of our microbiome. One more amazing reason to walk, stretch, dance, yoga, run, swim, and just move in whatever way feels good to us…daily.
I feel like I could shout from the rooftops “drink more water” daily and I would still want to tell you about it more. It’s SO huge for mental, emotional, and physical health to be hydrated. DIfferent studies (You can google, there are tons) show a correlations between anxiety, mental health, depression and ample hydration.
Rituals and Routines
When the clocks change and our systems feel wonky, a great way to help yourself ground and reset is by integrating simple daily rituals, habits, or routines. The consistency of these help your mind find ease and something tangible to reset with. This can be as simple as breathing in the am, a journaling session, scheduled self- care like self-massage or a bath, and doing simple things that bring you calm and joy.
Getting just 5 minutes of early morning sunlight can completely change your mood, neurological resiliency for the day, and set you up for a great night’s sleep.
- Tapping/EFT: Emotional freedom technique, also known as EFT or tapping, is a healing modality that uses Chinese meridian acupressure points throughout the body, walking through a series of practices and tapping rounds to reduce stress, anxiety, and rewire blocks or patterns. The amazing thing is you can do this anywhere! In my experience of 20 years of practice, I have noticed deep reprogramming of old patterns, blocks, and an accessible tool during times of high stress or anxiety. Learn More
- Ashwagandha: This adaptogen is one of my favorites for resetting the nervous system and anxiety. Adaptogens are super powered herbs that adapt based on your body’s needs. Known for its many benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. I love it so much I even wrote a blog about it. Check that out here.
- Red Light Therapy: Promises of anti-aging, better sleep, and reducing SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Verdicts say yes! This accessible therapy, among other benefits, helps increase serotonin which impacts sleep, anxiety, and depression. Particularly in the winter.
- D3 + Vitamin C: As our sunlight exposure decreases, oftentimes so does our vitamin d3 and vitamin c. Adding these supplements to your daily routine are great tools to help combat seasonal anxiety. Extra bonus, they are great for immunity too!
During times of major life changes as well as seasonal changes, our moods, stress, and anxieties need additional support. I hope these tools help offer you ease as you go through the natural ebbs and flows of life. Seasons always change, but health carries us through.
If you are feeling a more intensified anxiety, depression, or are having any thoughts of suicide, please reach out to your friends, family, and support here. For immediate help dial 911 or 988 in the US.